3 Ways to Prevent a Cold and the Flu

We are entering what is called the “cold and flu season.” Boost your immune system in preparation and keep yourself healthy with these 3 steps:

1. Eat well. This is one of the simplest and best ways to keep your immune system strong. Did you know that one gram of sugar shuts down the immune system for 4 hours and most carbs will turn into sugar as soon as they start to digest in the stomach? Carbohydrates are necessary, of course, so find balance and limit or eliminate the simple carbs (corn syrup, table sugar, honey, candy, soft drinks, maple syrup, jams/jellies, fruit drinks, brown sugar, molasses) and eat more complex carbohydrates (green veggies, whole grains or sprouted grains, starchy veggies like potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn and pumpkin, beans, lentils, peas).

2. Get enough B- Vitamins. Ever feel really tired ofter you eat? B-Vitamins turn carbohydrates into glucose for energy. If B-Vitamins are not present in our body’s to break down the carbs and protein, the body’s stored energy is used to try and break them down, thus zapping us of energy. B-Vitamins are water soluble, which means the body cannot store them and the excess will be flushed out through the urine. B-Vitamins should be replenished everyday either from foods high in B-Vitamins (broccoli, spinach, parsley, beets, turnips, mustard greens, asparagus, romaine lettuce, bell peppers, turnip greens, lentils, snapper, calf’s liver) or from a plant based supplement.

3. Detoxify every 6 months. Even if you do nothing else, detox. Detoxing the colon is the first step of any good detoxification program. The colon stores a lot of excess fecal matter that can be full of toxins. Most people have an average of 5 to 10 pounds of excess fecal matter and some have even more! When the intestines are clean, the rest of the body is then able to detoxify quicker and more efficiently. Detoxing is akin to getting rid of a virus’s food storage. Without all the toxins in the body there is nothing for the virus to live on and the immune system is able to get rid of it before it affects you.

Prevent yourself from getting a cold and the flu this season with a few simple changes. First, change your diet and cut out any foods with artificial ingredients, sugars, grains, or processed food. Second, add B-Vitamins to your daily diet. If you are unable to change the foods you eat then at least give your body the proper tools to break them down. Third, detoxify: don’t allow toxins to be stored in your body for viruses to use against you.

Here’s to your health and mine! Namaste.

My approach to food: simple

I eat a green smoothie nearly every day and have since December of 2008 when I purchased my Vitamix blender you see pictured here. What I love about green smoothies is that it starts my day off right: when else would I eat 1 whole banana, 2 mangos, 2 oranges, a salad, and some seaweed, all in one sitting?!! On the days that I sleep too late, have a breakfast meeting, or am not at my house, I have to intentionally make sure I eat my green veggies and fruits throughout the rest of the day, otherwise I feel less energetic, respond and think slower, and have trouble with my intestines. I don’t eat the same smoothie ingredients everyday and some smoothies are tastier than others (I constantly experiment), but that, actually, is part of the simplicity.

In season: the earth cycles through seasons and as it does, the plants change to match. God designed this so that we humans could thrive in each of these seasons. We don’t have watermelons growing in the winter, we have squashes, hearty green leafy veggies, and citrus. We don’t have pumpkins growing in the summer, we have juicy melons, plump corn, and cherries. In the fall and winter, our bodies need to protect themselves and prepare for the colder temperatures, darker days, and less activity by “fattening” up, so to speak; the earth grows denser and heartier foods to help, citrus to provide the extra vitamin C we need. In the summer we are active, we are outside playing, we are sweating in the heat and so nature provides juicier foods to compensate for the sweat and perspiration, the activity and quicker paced life we have and so we grab some nectarines and run off to the lake.

Simplicity: I am a huge fan of whole, organic, real, food. It is what we have always eaten and is built into the earth by design. It takes me nearly no time to peel a banana, some oranges, pour in some frozen mangos, wash some greens, sprinkle in some seaweed (or maca powder, or cacao, or goji berries, or soaked nuts, or whatever else you have or want to try), pour in some water, and hit power. I like juicing, but hardly ever do it. The blender provides the fiber our body’s need to help with digestion and cleansing, and the sugars in the fruit get absorbed slowly, it saves money by eating the whole food, plus, I love the ease of clean up. I stick the Vitamix under the faucet, pour in some soap, stick it on the base, turn it on for 45 seconds, and use the suds to wash it and my other dishes from the day. MUCH simpler than a juicer, with less of the sugar rush, and easier on my wallet.

How: I get a food box from my local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) once a week and it takes the brain work out of grocery shopping. It brings me fresh, in season, whole, real, organic food and can be delivered to my door (I pick mine up). The difference in this food is incomparable to the grocery store kind. It feels alive. You can see, smell, and taste the difference, and, it’s so simple! I go to the grocery store for my organic eggs, cheese, butter, meat, (or if I run out of stuff) but I can get those from the CSA as well (even a larger box). I also enjoy that I am supporting a local farmer who is not only providing for me and his/her family, but also isn’t thinking short term gain: s/he is taking caring of the planet by not polluting it with pesticides, GMO’s, and chemical fertilizers.

New diets, the next “highest antioxidant” food craze, and packaged convenience products will keep coming, and going, and I don’t completely knock them. These things are important in helping us understand the relationship between the body and it’s needs, what the earth and God have provided for us to flourish, and in making our lives simpler; but so often, we just need to get back to the basics. Marketing and business play a huge role in all of this and it is something to be aware of: who is gaining $ at the expense of people. It may not always be obvious, but sit back, enjoy a whole food smoothie, drink a cup of tea (or coffee) and watch the seasons change. You’ll see who has your best interest in mind with their company/service/product, and you are powerful enough to do something about it. Money talks.

May you live, fully alive.
Namaste!

What is my heart for my yoga classes and my students?

Image

I have had people ask ‘What are your yoga classes like? What is your vision? What makes you different?’ These have been great questions for me to think about and work on formulating into understandable points, not only for others but for myself. As with all instructors, I have a particular style and way of teaching but there is power in knowing where you are, right here, right now. It allows for assessment and thus helps direct the future, it lines up like-minded and passionate people, and gives a person confidence and/or fuel for change. I teach and lead my students in this activity in my classes, now, it’s time for me to do the same.

My heart is for people to walk away from my classes more than just strengthened. My hope is that my students also walk away different: more relaxed, peaceful, while at the same time stronger and more confident. I want my students to feel and be equipped, more able to face life and decisions, confident yet humble, restful yet strong; a humble and valiant warrior enjoying each moment. I want my students to en-joy life, no matter the circumstances! In my flow classes we open and build up to more complex poses while I encourage and adjust them as necessary. We take breaks after difficult poses because I want them to regain the deep breathing if they lost it; I want them to visualize themselves strong, confident, and joyful in the pose again; I want them to check in with their body’s to see if they are pushing themselves too far, or not far enough. I have my students take a moment or two to recover because in life we do that each and every night we go to sleep. Our muscles (including our brain!) cannot repair, rebuild, or grow stronger if we do not take a break. Most people I come across don’t have a problem barreling and pushing through poses or asanas or even life for that matter and comparing themselves with their neighbor in a “I want to keep up with the Joneses” sort of way. Most people need to actually stop comparing and listen to what the Creator is whispering to them through their body, their mind, and their spirit. I create and allow space for this in my yoga classes. I allow time to reflect, in a safe and peaceful place, as I encourage my students into trying new things that deep down they may not believe they can actually accomplish. Most people I come across don’t believe in themselves and feel quite hopeless in one area or another. It is my passion to change that and I get to every time I teach a yoga class.

How do I do this? For starters, I have had to work on believing in myself, believing in a powerful, loving, and joyful God that wants to see all people live full and happy lives, trusting that I have what it takes, and stepping out, over and over again, even if I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. In my classes, I do this through the encouragement of smiles in hard poses, deep breathes in twists and holds, and steady but soft gazes in balance asanas. I allow time for my students to visualize themselves in poses that they want to master, imagining what they smell, how they feel, what their body is doing, what the mat or SUP board feels like under their feet, hands, belly, etc. I am a teacher and as such it is my responsibility to create an atmosphere of practical application of principles that most of us have heard for years. My yoga classes are where you can put theory into practice and have some fun doing it!

Thankfully time and time again I hear my students say that this is what they receive. It’s encouraging to me that I am making a difference through something that some would say is inconsequential: a yoga or SUP yoga class. I hope you can experience this for yourself too, whether it be in one of my classes or not: a peaceful strength as you courageously live this life fully alive, joyful, present, strong. May my life be a challenge and example of what is possible to those who believe and may the world never be the same because of it, practically through your life, your neighbor’s, and mine.

Namaste!